Staff Profiles

Gaylene Perry

Gaylene Perry Book Cover Midnight Water a Memoir


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As I edit my writing I am creating the form that is meant for that piece of work.

Gaylene Perry is a fiction writer and memoirist. She isn't overly fond of drawing a strict distinction between such genres, and tends only to do so when thoughts of publication arise.

I tend to choose tiny moments in time,’ she says, ‘or tiny pieces of material - such as an object, a photograph, a few words - and to extrapolate my stories from there.

Gaylene does what many writers do – or at least those without independent wealth or a fondness for penury – she writes in the gaps of a busy life and in intense bursts. ‘I write mostly at night,’ she says, ‘but I also like to write on trains and buses - this is a great way to sneak some writing time.

There is a commonly held view that technology is eroding the craft of writing, but Gaylene exemplifies a more traditional approach. Her early drafts are handwritten, and she writes ‘in small pieces that then turn into larger pieces.’ When she transfers a work to computer she remains reluctant to cut and paste.

Editing, she claims, is the main work of writing. ‘Ideas are fine,’ she says, ‘but expression is what truly matters.’ This sort of craft approach democratises creativity and perhaps exemplifies writing's place in academia.

However, this does not discount what Lorca called duende. ‘For a piece of writing to stand out from the ordinary,’ Gaylene says, ‘it needs a certain sparkle, a specialness that cannot be necessarily defined or described.

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